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Restoring Honor

South Wilmington residents to rebuild military memorial

SOUTH WILMINGTON — On an early fall day nearly 70 years ago, the village of South Wilmington debuted a memorial bearing the names of U.S. military veterans with ties to the area.

It was a small, humble structure called the Greenfield Township Honor Roll. It was surrounded by a white picket fence and American flags.

Those watching its unveiling that day in October 1944, attended a special church service in the morning, ate a lunch of chicken and spaghetti, and enjoyed live entertainment as they honored area residents who had served in World War I and World War II.

For years, it stood on Lake Street as a reminder of what everyday Americans sacrificed for their fellow citizens.

The memorial is no longer there.

But some Grundy County residents are looking to change that.

Bill Simms, a resident of South Wilmington, is part of a group looking to reconstruct the memorial, which will include the names of those on the original Honor Roll, as well as those who have served their country since.

Simms said the construction should begin in the spring and ideally be completed by the end of the summer.

But before that can happen, he needs to compile a list of names.

“Right now, the main thing is getting the names of those who served [to include on the memorial],” Simms said.

Anyone interested should get in touch with him by phone at (815) 791-7713 or by e-mail at

He also said the group is looking for donations and volunteers to aid in the building of the structure.

“These people left their lives behind to go fight,” Simms said. “This is the least we can do to honor those who sacrificed for us.”

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